October trade figures

Deliver boost to Christmas sales.

The October trade figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics give a strong lead-up to Christmas trading with a 3.56% total year-on-year increase.

Australian Retailers Association executive director, Russell Zimmerman said results should increase confidence and he predicted retailers could expect to see a busy Christmas.

“As we lead into Christmas, October is the third consecutive month with year-on-year growth topping 3.5%,” Zimmerman said. “Retailers across the country can expect to see an uptick in sales.”

The ‘other’ retailing category saw the strongest year-on-year growth at 5.50%, with consumers turning to online platforms to purchase gifts for the big day. “We have noticed consumers are increasing their basket size online to prepare for the rush that occurs in the lead up to the festive season,” he said.

Household goods also showed growth with the furniture category recording a considerable year-on-year result.

National Retail Association (NRA) deputy CEO, Lindsay Carroll said while the result did not show a booming retail sector, the increase from September was encouraging as businesses geared up for Christmas.

“Retail business owners rely very heavily on the pre-Christmas and Boxing Day sales periods to sustain them during the quieter parts of the year,” Carroll said. “This is also the time when the retail sector is able to create additional jobs or provide more hours to existing workers.  That can only happen if the cash registers are ringing in the lead-up to Christmas.

“Although we would ideally like to see monthly increases of 0.4% or even 0.5%, we welcome the fact that these numbers are trending in the right direction as we head towards Christmas.”

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